States told to share marriage registration data with Centre
States would have to share with the Centre the data of all registered marriages, a panel of ministers decided on Monday, a move aimed at addressing complaints of NRI husbands deserting their wives.
As more and more Indians go abroad for education, work and on business, complaints of domestic violence, dowry harassment and mistreatment at the hands of non-resident Indian husbands, too, have grown.
“We will be writing to the states asking them to link the marriage registration data to the women and child development (WCD) website at the end of every month,” minister Maneka Gandhi told Hindustan Times.
States are required to register marriages but in the absence of a central law, many tend to be lax. The move, said sources, would equip the ministry better to address the women’s problems which it can’t in the absence of information.
The National Commission for Women, an autonomous body under the ministry, received 346 complaints against NRI husbands in 2014, the latest year for which data is available.
The ministry would also be the nodal agency to monitor marriages and complaints involving NRIs.
The inter-ministerial group comprising women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, her junior minister VK Singh and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met for the first time on Monday.
The group, which has to come up with a legal framework to address the complaints of NRI wives, discussed the recommendations of a panel headed by retired judge Arvind Kumar Goel, a former chairman of Punjab’s state commission for NRIs.
As reported by Hindustan Times, the Goel panel has called for confiscating or cancelling the passports of NRIs who harass wives for dowry, abuse them or and desert them.
Men disappearing after marrying women in India, abandoning their wives in foreign countries and confiscating their passports to prevent them from travel are the most common of complaints.
The report submitted in September also recommended that the offence of domestic violence be included in the scope of extradition treaties that India has with other countries.
“It will take time to implement many of these recommendations as they require cabinet approval,” a ministry official said. As an immediate step, the ministry would ask registrars to share marriage data, the source said.
Registrars are state government officials who are responsible for registering a marriage and issuing a certificate.